Be Still: The Lord Will Fight For You
As humans, we’ve all had our freakouts. Disasters are never in short supply, but as soon as we spot the next one, we run around screaming our heads off (well, at least I do). Which is why I relate so much to the Israelites. Throughout their journey, from slavery in Egypt to liberation with Moses, their motto was often “Complain first; ask questions later.”
God, on the other hand, always has His own plans in motion.
At the start of Exodus 14, God instructs Moses to turn the Israelites back and camp by the sea, explaining that their wandering will harden Pharaoh’s heart to pursue them. Which is a crazy plan. Why does God want Israel’s enemies to come after them? In Exodus 14:4, He says: “I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh… and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.”
Of course, things play out as God said. Imagine the whole world was marching out just to kill you. Shining chariots, hulking warriors, thundering horses. A fierce people who had kept you in slavery for hundreds of years is coming after you to do it again. The Israelites immediately ask Moses if he brought them out of Egypt just to die. In Exodus 14:14, Moses reassures them with a simple promise: “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Three truths come together in this moment. First: the disaster approaching Israel was intentional. Second: that intention was for God to reveal His glory. These truths point not to the Israelites, but to God being in total control. Third truth: the Israelites had to choose to trust that God alone would save them. Be still. The Lord will fight for you. Not your work or your effort or self-salvation.
When the Israelites see trouble they can’t control, they tell Moses: “Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” Slavery was terrible, but it was familiar compared to the disasters in front of them - specifically, disasters that required trust in a God that they didn’t think cared about them.
Think of yourself and the slavery that God has set you free from. You might be facing your own Egyptian army, and you’re wondering why God didn’t just leave you where you were.
God’s answer for the Israelites is this: “Why are you crying out? Tell the Israelites to move on.” It’s too late, I’ve already freed you from slavery and there is no going back. Trouble is coming but I’ve got it covered. This is part of your journey to the Promised Land.
As scary as life can be, there’s comfort in knowing that when you are freaking out and thinking even your former slavery is better than what you’re facing, God will not turn back the clock on you.
He saved you before, and He will save you again. Be still, and let Him fight for you.